Board approves final dates of 2019-2020 school year

Starting next week students will have three instructional days per week, teachers will work Monday-Friday


Abby Moutardier, Reporter

With Coronavirus canceling the rest of the traditional school year, an April 13 school board meeting provided answers on the homestretch of the 19-20 school year. 

“We’ve already communicated with the parents that we will be going Tuesday through Friday (on the week of April 14th),”  assistant to the superintendent Bill Briscoe said. “Starting next week, students will go three days a week, Tuesday through Thursday. This will go April 21st to May 21st, and include May 5th, which was election day. Teachers will continue to work five days a week.” 

The Board approved the recommendation with a 7-0 vote.

Starting on Tuesday, April 21st, e-learning will occur three days a week for students:  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Mondays and Fridays will serve as teacher work days. This pattern will continue through May 21st, the official last day of “school”.

“We are very appreciative of the association through discussion and agreeing to this calendar,” Briscoe said. “We think it’s best for our kids and good for our teachers. 

On March 12th, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb waived 20 days of school, taking the usual required 180 school days down to 160. NAFCS schools will go over the minimum by two days.  

“The proposed calendar is 162 days, which is above the required minimum,” Briscoe said. “The (DOE) minimum would’ve been 160, this is 162.”

No information was given in regards to seniors, aside from specifying that “New Albany Floyd County Schools has not canceled graduation, as of this day and time,” board member Lee Ann Wisenheart said.

Another action item was salaries of classified staff;  employees such as aides and bus drivers will continue to be paid through the end of the school year as they normally would.

Spring sport coaches’ stipends were also discussed. The board decided middle school coaches will be paid ⅓ of their normal stipend, but deciding what to pay high school coaches required more discussion.

“The stipends that are paid to our coaches are not someone’s livelihood,” Wiseheart said. “Not knowing how difficult Covid-19 is going to hit us financially in the next couple of years, I don’t think it’s good fiscal responsibility to pay the coaches their full stipend. I would make the motion to pay high school coaches ⅓ of their usual stipend, what we’re paying the middle school coaches.” 

Other board members consider coaches essential, and argued for their full pay. 

“I personally consider (coaches) essential,” member Jenny Higbie said. “For many students sports are the one thing that makes school and learning attractive to them. My high schooler has been working since before Thanksgiving (for a spring sport).” 

Another argument for paying high school coaches in full was that the high school season extends throughout the school year, whereas the middle school season is March through May.  

“The governor pretty well canceled school at the end of March,” Briscoe said. “Let’s pay (middle school coaches) for March, we don’t pay them for April or May, so it’s ⅓.  The high school sports are pretty much year-round responsibilities. Most of those coaches have been conditioning since January with their kids.”

Wiseheart argued that the coaches are paid for games more so than preseason practices and there is no way to verify high school spring sport coaches worked with their athletes prior to the official start to the spring season. 

“They’re paid for four to five days of practices, plus the games, the competitions, the meets, the matches, none of which is happening,” Wiseheart said. “I’m not saying don’t pay them at all, I’m saying pay them partial.” 

The final decision was voted on 5-2 to pay high school spring coaches their full stipend.